Fournier's Finding Groove While Battling Lingering COVID-19 Symptoms
Evan Fournier is battling through far more than just conditioning issues following his battle with COVID-19.
The recently-acquired Celtics wing revealed Sunday night that he has been experiencing lingering symptoms that include concussion-like symptoms, issues with his depth perception and trouble focusing.
Fournier stated that he was attempting not to discuss the symptoms in hopes that it would help him battle through them, but he deviated from that plan following a 21-point performance Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
“It’s like I have a concussion,” he said. “Right now it’s actually doing a bit better, but at first it was like the bright lights were bothering my eyes and my vision was blurry. Everything was just going too fast for me. I mean, it’s still the case.
“Some stuff are better, but at times I’m really struggling to focus, and my eyes keep struggling focusing on one thing. My depth perception is really bad right now. But I saw a specialist and she gave me some exercises, and hopefully it will get better.”
Teammate Jayson Tatum, who also battled the COVID-19 virus and experienced lingering symptoms, has been supporting Fournier behind closed doors. Tatum acknowledged Sunday night that he and Fournier have discussed the process of returning to play following infection.
“We’ve had plenty of talks about it,” Tatum said, “just about how it was in my experience when I came back, and just some things to look out for.”
Things are a bit more unique in Fournier’s return to action, however, because he’s new in Boston. The Celtics just acquired him at the trade deadline five weeks ago. Fournier is still adjusting to his new surroundings, while the people who surround him are learning who he is.
Fournier made the comment multiple times during his six-minute media session Sunday night that due to his stay in the Health & Safety Protocols, C’s fans and media members, as well as his teammates, don’t really know who he is yet as a person or as a player. But his comments about battling through the situation sure will teach everyone in Celtics Nation about his character and his team-first mentality.
Asked if he feels like he should take a couple of days off to see if he feels totally better, Fournier in part replied, “I can’t just take games off or practice off because I’m not feeling well mentally, you know? My body is available. I have to be available.”
Toward the end of his media session, after discussing many of the challenges that have accompanied his battle with the virus, Fournier also declared, “You guys don’t know me yet, but I’m mentally as tough as it gets, and I’ll get through that, for sure.”
Fortunately, it sounds as if the process of getting through it all is already underway. Fournier stated multiple times that his symptoms have waned a bit over the last few days, which may have led to his improved performance during Boston’s contests Friday night and Sunday night.
Friday night, Fournier shot 3-for-6 from the field and 2-for-4 from long distance during a dramatic comeback win over the Spurs. Sunday night, he was even better while delivering his best overall performance as a member of the Celtics, which featured 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals on 8-for-10 shooting from the field and 5-for-7 shooting from long distance.
These consecutive performances arrived after Fournier shot 5-for-31 from the field while committing six turnovers during his first four games back from the Health & Safety Protocols.
Things are clearly heading in the right direction for the 28-year-old wing, but he admitted that they aren’t back to normal just yet.
“It’s nowhere near where it needs to be,” Fournier said of his health, “but I’m going to keep pushing, I’m going to keep working on my stuff, and things are going to get better. It felt great, honestly, to be able to make shots and feel like myself a little bit.”
A little bit? This is the guy who just scored 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Just imagine what he’ll bring to the table after he battles through the symptoms that have been lingering since his return on April 23.